LFA 53 Results & Clips: Casey Kenney wrestles his way to gold, Kyle Stewart & Harvey Park impress on the undercard
Phoenix, Arizona – Casey Kenney snagged flyweight gold, Kyle Stewart showed off his revamped wrestling game, and Harvey Park battled through an absolutely gruesome compound fracture to pick up highlight wins at LFA 53. Despite a relative lack of finishes there were great scraps top to bottom; read on for fight recaps & clips of top action from the LFA 53 broadcast on AXS TV!
LFA 53 Interim Flyweight Title:
Casey Kenney (10-1-1, #48 World)
Brandon Royval (8-4, #63 World)
When LFA flyweight champ Maikel Perez pulled out of his scheduled title defense against Casey Kenney, Colorado’s Brandon Royval rode in to rescue the main event – and he gave Kenney a pretty good run for his money in the early going. Royval comes from an aggressive BJJ base but showed off improved striking, clipping Kenney with snappy left hands and kicks. Just when Royval’s output seemed to be overwhelming Kenney, a counter put Royval on the mat midway through the first round! Kenney assumed mount before switching to back mount and fishing for an RNC. Royval defended that sub and rode out an armbar try to cap a high-energy first round. The two men went back to brawling in round 2, with Royval landing a nice hidden right high kick but Kenney finding the mark with counter left hands. When Royval slowed halfway through the second, Kenney’s grappling superiority took hold. Kenney spent the last three rounds threatening with persistent RNC tries and controlling position with a wide array of funky, hybrid jiu-jitsu/wrestling control techniques. Royval never stopped trying to find a miracle with low-percentage submission tries including a kneebar, a gogoplata, and a calf slicer, but no dice. Dominant stuff from Casey Kenney, who easily could be undefeated had a contentious decision versus Adam Antolin on Dana White Contender Series gone his way. Now that Kenney has attained interim gold, it’ll be interesting to see whether his grappling chops hold up against a Cuban Olympian like future opponent Maikel Perez.
Breaking News – Nakashima to ONE:
LFA 53 Main Card:
170: Kyle Stewart (11-1,#121 World) UD3 Braden Smith (8-3, #460 World)
One-time Contender Series winner Kyle Stewart made a case for a big show promotion with another finish in the LFA cage, this time at the expense of lanky BJJ practitioner Braden Smith. Stewart’s power was evident as he dropped Smith to the canvas with punches just 40 seconds in. Smith managed to struggle to his feet and hang out in the clinch, only to be tossed to the ground for the rest of the first frame. Stewart, who was outwrestled by LFA champ James Nakashima in his only pro loss and his since taken up training with the grappling great, showed off his new chops by taking Smith straight back to the canvas early in round 2. The US Marines Corp vet blasted away with ground strikes and completely neutralized the 22 year old Smith’s periodic submission efforts. Round 3 was more of the same, with Stewart dominating almost every moment and avoiding the fundamental errors that had occasionally plagued him in the past; looks like his move to train under John Crouch at the MMA Lab has paid serious dividends. Excellent progress shown here from Kyle Stewart, who already owns a potent standup game to go with his growing ground arsenal.
145: Kamuela Kirk (9-2, #362 World) Sub1 Kevin Croom (19-11, #135 World)
Hawaiian grappling ace Kamuela Kirk kept this fight in his world on the mat and reaped the benefits with a first round finish of well-traveled Kevin Croom. “The Hard Hitting Hillbilly” couldn’t stop Kirk’s early takedown and spent much of round 1 desperately fighting off rear naked choke efforts. Croom fought through those tries and even managed to scramble back to his feet, but made the curious decision to take Kirk down instead of throwing hands. Moments later, he was out cold thanks to an expertly executed triangle choke. Eye-opening stuff from 24 year old Kamuela Kirk, who’s now 2-0 in LFA with a pair of first round submissions.
145: Andrew Tenneson (7-1, #517 World) UD3 Joey Miolla (10-4, #359 World)
Awesome fight here that saw JacksonWink’s Andrew Tenneson use a prolific barrage of knees to brutalize AXS Fights regular Joey Miolla over the first few minutes. Arizona’s Miolla withstood an unending assault of shots to his head and body, firing back with just enough punches to keep the ref from stopping things. Tenneson kept attacking with persistent liver kicks before ending an electric round 1 fishing for a D’Arce choke. Miolla rebounded surprisingly well with some nice punches early in round 2, but Tenneson re-established momentum with a pair of crisp left hooks 2 minutes in. The ridiculously tough 33 year old Miolla kept battling on despite eating a ton of punches and knees that obliterated his nose as round 2 wore on. Both bantamweights were still firing in round 3, but neither had the pop to finish despite landing big shots in the third. Gritty performance from popular local talent Miolla, but this was Andrew Tenneson’s fight as he picked up a second LFA victory by wide unanimous decision.
155: Harvey Park (10-2, #349 World) UD3 Le’Ville Simpson (8-4, #246 World)
New Mexico’s Harvey Park marched down Le’Ville Simpson in round 1, skillfully evading return fire as he tagged his retreating foe with straight punches. “Fightbot” found his momentum halted by an apparent hand injury near the end of round 1. The injury didn’t stop the fight, but it allowed “Cadillac” Simpson to start landing some serious offense of his own in round 2. Park fought on through round 2 like a trooper, even scoring a takedown and claiming the back for a while. After the doctor checked his finger again before round 3, Park came out and landed a huge shot that had Simpson reeling in the opening minute. Park continued to fight through the pain, securing multiple takedowns and finishing strong with punches. Great performance from 32 year old Harvey Park, who never stopped swinging for the fences despite a compound fracture – bone breaking out of the skin! What a memorable way for the New Mexican to claim his first win inside the LFA cage.
135: Kevin Natividad (7-1, #14 US Southwest) UD3 Tom Ni (2-2)
Strange finish to the LFA 53 opener as Kevin Natividad nearly choked out Tom Ni at the end of a spirited 15 minute contest. Ni barely fought off the RNC as the final bell rung, but Natividad’s persistent grappling earned him a comeback on the scorecards anyway after Ni’s kicking game earned him round 1.
LFA 53 Unbroadcast Prelims
155: Ryan Shell (7-1, 1-1 LFA/RFA, #520 World) KO1 Jimmy Scully (7-8, 0-1 LFA, 0-1 WSOF, #443 World)
170: Larue Burley (9-4, 3-1 LFA/RFA, 0-2 WSOF, 3-0 Bellator, #506 World) UD3 Manny Villareal (2-3, 1-2 LFA)
135: Hunter Azure (4-0, 1-0 LFA) UD3 AJ Robb (1-2, 0-2 LFA)
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